"There's almost no incentive at all to give him the vaccine"

In some cases, mothers I interviewed said they are not planning to vaccinate their children against Covid-19, even though they got the vaccine for themselves. One mother, who is white and has a master’s degree, said she and her husband both got a Covid-19 vaccine around July, but are not planning to vaccinate their three children under 12 — at least not right away.

“Part of me is almost not ready for it to be approved, because, at least at this point, you know, I don’t have the choice in my hands,” the mother said. “I’m not sure I believe the benefits of the vaccine for children outweigh the risks and unknowns,” she said, adding, “If it was something like smallpox, I would feel a much greater level of concern than I do in this situation.”…

Parents may also feel unmotivated by a lack of tangible incentives. If concern over Covid-19 risk to children is low, then suggestions that the vaccines may not change their child’s daily life right away may add to the lack of urgency. Why bother to vaccinate if vaccinated kids are still required to wear masks at school, for example, or if the school district has already eliminated mask requirements for unvaccinated students?

Prepandemic research suggests that once parents view vaccination as unnecessary for their children, they can also become more susceptible to misinformation about vaccine risks.